A manifesto by PCFR members Georges Hage and Georges Gastaud

version française

NDLR : Etant attaché tant à la langue anglaise qu'à la langue française, nous ne voyons pas pourquoi cet infâme brouet qu'est le globish devrait prendre la place de l'une et de l'autre. C'est la raison pour laquelle nous reproduisons ci-dessous un appel à défendre le français émanant de milieux qui jusqu'ici avaient laissé ce soin à d'autres familles politiques. Le bon sens les aurait-il rattrapés ?

As incredible as this may seem, the language of Molière and Racine, of Descartes and Pascal, of Diderot and Rousseau, of V. Hugo and Rimbaud, of Proust and Aragon, of Joan of Arc and Louise Michel, of Prévert and Brassens, of Lavoisier and Langevin, of Piaget and Lacan, of Aimé Césaire and Mouloud Feraoun, the language in which the Discours de la méthode and the Déclaration des droits de l'homme et du citoyen were penned, the language that bore La Marseillaise and L'internationale, the French language is in peril.

Not only is French being increasingly denied the wherewithal to ensure its international influence, it is also being laid siege to in France, in Europe and a number of French-speaking countries by political, economical and ideological groups linked to big business. Witness Baron Seillère, the former boss of MEDEF and current president of UNICE (the European Employers' Association), who officially  informed Brussels of his decision to promote English as the sole "language of business and firms". Acting as relay to the choice made by business leaders, powerful forces that preside over the EU, are striving hard to make English the single official language of a 30-member Europe. In France itself, the managing staff of a number of CAC40 companies communicate in English internally... and  even attempt to enforce an "English-only" policy on their workforce !

French is under threat owing to the US music and show business industry' monolingual policy of leaving untranslated the titles of films made in Hollywood, with a view to linguistically unifying a global cultural market from which all non-English speaking products will be eliminated.

French is under threat owing to a large portion of the "Paris power elite" repudiating the idea of a republican nation, tearing apart its "social model" and rejecting everything that is reminiscent of past as well as present struggles to achieve a social, lay and democratic Republic. Fascinated as they are by the worst in the Anglo-saxon world, the "power elite" despise the French people for keeping alive in its heart the legacy of the Enlightenment and the Revolution, of the Paris Commune and the Popular Front, of the Resistance and May 68. Bowing adoringly to supra-national Europe and neo-liberal globalization, the said "elite" want to annihilate everything – from the national language to a commonly-shared history – that may enable workers and citizens to unite in order to resist being preyed upon by neoliberal forces.

French is under threat owing to the Conseil constitutionnel allowing transnationals to flood the French market with products whose packaging and instruction manuals are available only in English.

French is under threat owing to the Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel's readiness to allow public as well as privately-owned TV channels to ignore both French and international non-English speaking creations while targeting commercials in English at young viewers.

French is under threat owing to the leaders of state education cutting down on scheduled hours of French, shelving ancient and regional languages and de facto enforcing basic English as the single foreign language.

French is under threat owing to those who, out of snobbery, are trying to place themselves above their own people by showing off a language they assume to be English when in fact it is mereley Globish or worse Franglais, a pidgin English that makes its users sound ridiculous to true-born English speakers.

French is under threat owing to the number of consumers becoming alienated through listening only to Anglo-saxon music and being deaf to anything that is created in non-English speaking parts of the world.

French is under threat owing to separatist movements taking regional languages – when these should bolster French in resisting cultural levelling – as an excuse for promoting a "Europe of regions" at the expense of the one and indivisible Republic.

But the threat is not simply linguistic, it is also ideological and political, undermining as it does such progressive values as the sovereignty of peoples, freedom of thought, the plurality of cultures, the love of social progress, peaceful cooperation between peoples. This is why allowing French to be assassinated, along with the literature, drama, philosophy, music, cinema and science of the French-speaking world is tantamount to surrendering to the insidiously totalitarian ideology of a neoliberal globalization that prevails all the more easily as it is sustained spontaneously by the so-called "language of the future".

If tomorrow all French youths are reduced to jabbering basic English within their firms, if they are reduced to replying in Globish in our streets to visitors from European countries – who incidentally will be taught only that idiom in the way of a foreign language at home –, French will be downgraded to the position of a domestic language. The time will then have come of its extinction or its mummification in the form of a dead language, a so-called "language of culture" reserved for the very same elite people that have murdered it! What will then remain of France and the republican ideal that has inhabited it in the last two centuries? Imagine what degradation and humiliation will then be the lot of a majority of French people and immigrants who continue to speak French in France, either by choice or because their social status bars them from the new global code of domination?

But defending the people of France and French-speaking communities – seriously imperiled in Walloonia, Romande Switzerland, Quebec, etc. –  is not the only reason for the development of a grassroots campaign to defend French. If French, one of the most widely "acknowledged" languages in the world is under attack in France itself, can there be a single language, especially in the Third World, whose life will not  be incurring a mortal risk? Through the assault against French, it is the right to cultural, political and ideological differences that is being questioned on a global scale by a totalitarian undertaking that threatens mankind with an unprecedented impoverishment. Besides, the English language itself and its American offshoot would perish in their turn if French were eventually to go under, for Globish, far from being a language with a legacy of history, poetry, feeling, thought, in other words of human experience, is just a commercial, ideologically-laden code whose role is to insidiously standardize the marketplace of ideas. This is why we call for our country's people and youth to stand up un linguistic resistance.

Traslated into English by Christian Lassure - May 6th, 2007

To support this manifesto, write to G. Gastaud, 10, rue Grignard, 62300 LENS,
or email to gastaudcrovisier2@wanadoo.fr

© Christian Lassure - English For Techies

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